British LGBT awards 2017: Caitlyn Jenner, Prince William and Tom Daley all pick up prizes

Awards celebrate campaigning work of gay stars and allies

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The Independent Online

Celebrities were out in force at the annual British LGBT Awards ceremony on Friday night, which celebrates individuals and organisations working to advance the rights of gay and transgender people.

The 2017 awards recognised the campaigning work of LGBT stars such as Caitlyn Jenner, Fifth Harmony singer Lauren Jauregui, diver Tom Daley, and presenter Clare Balding.

Transgender star Caitlyn Jenner picked up the 'Loud and Proud' award. The former Olympian, who has been using her platform to campaign for trans rights, told The Independent she was "furious" at Donald Trump's decision to remove Obama-era guidelines protecting transgender students.

Fifth Harmony singer Lauren Jauregui, who came out as bisexual in November last year, was chosen by members of the public as “Celebrity of the Year”.

Caitlyn Jenner: I was furious at Donald Trump

The singer has also been a vocal critic of President Trump, and penned an open letter in January encouraging people to “take action” against the President’s travel ban.

Screenwriter Russell T Davies, known for his ground-breaking 1999 series Queer as Folk, also used the evening to draw attention to political debates around LGBT issues.

"Theresa May’s record on voting for gay rights is very, very poor, and I'm concerned about a swing to the right."

Mr Davies also said Conservative cuts to arts funding had dramatically impacted working-class participation in creative industries.

"When I was growing up in, I belonged to a youth theatre group, which literally made me the person I am today, and provided a safe space for a young gay school boy.

"Unfortunately, after forty years, my local theatre group has now been shut down."

Olympian Tom Daley and his husband Dustin Lance Black jointly received the “Influencer of the Year” prize, while Rylan Clark-Neal also shared an award with his husband.

The former X Factor contestant and his husband Dan Clark-Neal were recognised for “Media Moment of the Year” after they made history last year becoming the first gay couple to host ITV’s flagship talk show This Morning.

Tom Daley engaged

A special recognition award was given to the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, who was named straight ally of the year, who did not attend the ceremony in person. Judges highlighted the Prince’s campaigning work on homophobic bullying.

The awards, of which The Independent is the official media partner, were presented by Alan Carr and Melanie Sykes at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London. 

The stand-up comedian used his introductory speech to urge the audience to register to vote in the upcoming general election, while also making a more light-hearted political reference to the Liberal Democrats leader's famously ambiguous views on homosexuality.

"Tim Farron thinks homosexuality's a sin", said Mr Carr. "Clearly, he's not been doing it right." 

Speaking after the awards, Mr Carr said: “It has been a fantastic night that has rightly celebrated people in the LGBT community who are making a real difference, as well highlighting the straight allies who give their much-needed support."

Sarah Garrett, who co founded the awards, said: “The new challenges facing the LGBT community all over the world mean that these awards are more important than ever.

“It has been wonderful to celebrate such inspirational role models who send out a positive message to people everywhere that being LGBT is not and should never be a barrier to success. That is what the British LGBT Awards is all about.”

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